Page images
PDF
EPUB

persecuted and aggrieved by their sovereign, than any other description of his subjects whatsoever.* No sooner were the melancholy tidings of the death of Charles I. conveyed to Ormond, who was then at Youghall, than he instantly proclaimed the prince of Wales king by the style of Charles the Second,

• How little then did they merit the votum candidum of our impartial historian Sir Richard Cox? " How gladly would I draw a curtain over the dismal and unhappy 30th of January, wherein the royal father of our country suffer"ed martyrdom! Oh! that I could say, they were Irishmen that did that " abominable fact, or that I could justly lay it at the doors of the Papists! But “ how much soever they might obliquely or designedly contribute to it, 'tis “ certain it was actually done by others.”

CHAPTER V.

THE INTERREGNUM AND REIGN OF CIIARLES THE SECOND.

.

IN the first effervescence of the horror, which all conceived of the murder of King Charles, the English and Irish vied with each other, who should be most zealous in their exertions against the parliamentarian rebels, whom they now denominated and treated as regicides. To this union were owing the first successful movements of Ormond's campaign in the reduction of most of the strong holds of the northern parts of the kingdom, except Dublin and Londonderry. The pride of Ormond stimulated him above all things to regain the possession of Dublin, which he had by his own base treachery surrendered into the hands of the rebels. But the infamy of his giving it up for base lucre was aggravated by his disgraceful defeat at Rathmines* by a very inferior force under Michael Jones, the rebel governor of the city. This shameful disaster, coupled with the ready submission of Inchiquin's men, who instantly enlisted in Jones's army, and several other circumstances attending the conduct of Ormond on this occasion, naturally renewed in the Irish their former suspicions, that he had still some secret understanding with the English rebels: and these suspicions were strengthened by the constant failure of all his subsequent undertakings against them.

The new king had explicitly written from the Hague, “ that he had received and was extremely well satisfied with the articles of peace with the Irish confederates, and would confirm wholly and entirely all that was contained in them.t Notwithstanding, after his majesty had been proclaimed in Scotland, and had been advised by Ormond to accept of the commissioners' invitation to go over to that kingdom, well knowing that his taking the covenant was to be the previous condition of his being admitted to the throne of Scotland, he took shipping and arrived there on the 23d of June 1650. After having signed both the national and solemn covenant, in the short space of two months, the king published a declaration, “ that he would have

* Rathmines is about three miles from Dublin. Carte says, that 1500 soldiers and 300 officers in this battle were taken prisoners, and about 600 slain, and above half of them within the walls of Dublin after quarter had been given. Most of Inchiquin's men enlisted under Jones, 2 C. Orm. 81. According to Borlase, Ormond, after this shameful defeat, wrote to Jones for a list of his prisoners, who answered, " My lord, since I routed your army, I “cannot have the happiness to know where you are, that I may wait upon you."

† Cart. Orig. Let: 2 vol. p. 363 and 367.

[ocr errors]

« no enemies but the enemies of the covenant: that de did detest "and abhor popery, superstition, and idolatry, together with

prelacy: resolving not to tolerate, much less to allow those in any

part of his dominions, and to endeavour the extirpation thereof “ to the utmost of his power.” And he expressly pronounced the peace lately made with the Irish and confirmed by himself to be null and void: adding, “ that he was convinced in his con" science of the sinfulness and unlawfulness of it, and of his " allowing them (the confederates) the liberty of the Popish " religion ; for which he did from his heart desire to be deeply “ humbled before the Lord: and for having sought unto such “ unlawful help for the restoring of him to his throne.” The publication of this declaration necessarily produced the effect, which Ormond himself foretold in a letter to secretary Long, * namely, “ to withdraw this people from their allegiance by infu

sing into them a belief, that by his majesty's having taken or “ approved of the covenant, they are deprived of the benefit of “the peace, and left to the extirpation the covenant proposes “ both of their religion and persons.'

Whatever party prejudice may allege in charge, commendation, or defence of Ormond (no character was ever more partially represented) historical justice obliges us to aver, that the Catholic confederates (whatever differences had existed amongst them) were unexceptionablyť and most zealously devoted to

Written from Loughrea the 2d of September 1650 : in this letter Or. mond grievously complains of the rebellious disposition of all the clergy and Catbolic nobility (except Lord Clanrickard) and says that he expected that all who should adhere to him thereafter, would be excommunicated. That all Ireland except Connaught was in the hands of the rebels. C. Orig. Pap. 453.

† In the course of what is called (very improperly) the grand rebellion in Ireland, the only party, which could properly, if at all be called rebels, were the adherents of Phelim O'Nial, who headed the native Irish Catholics in the North, and who, in the confusion and heat of the internal dissensions of the confederates, had been, together with the adherents of the Pope's nuncio, denounced as traitors against the royal authority, for resisting the peace of 1648, by the supreme council of Kilkenny. This Phelim O'Nial had been constantly charged with having forged a commission from the King, to levy war against the parliamentarians, or English Protestant army in Ireland ; for in the beginning of the decline of the power of Charles I. these terms were (by the Irish at least) considered synonymous. In the year 1652, a high court of justice (afterwards called "Cromwell's slaughter-house, from the Bumbers of bloody sentences pronounced in it) was instituted for trying rebels and malignants, which, in the revolutionary language of that day, meant loyalists and royalists : and also for the trial of all massacres and murders, committed since the 1st of October, 1641. The regicides brought Phelim O'Nial to trial in this court, hoping, as it appeared from their efforts, to afix upon the late King, the olious stigma of exciting the rebellion : and after his condemnation, they offered him his pardon and restitution of his estate, if he would acknowledge the genuineness of his commission. But Phelim disdained to save his life by a lie, that would have been injurious to that unfortunate prince : but he replied aloud, that in order to draw the people unto him (who were therefore loyal in their disposition) he took an old seal from a deed, and

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

the royal cause, in direct opposition to the rebellious regicides ; that Ormond well knew the extraordinary fidelity of his Irish army, by acknowledging to his Majesty, that many of the soldiers had starved by their arms, and he could persuade one half of his army to starve outright ; that after the disgrace at Rathmines, Ormond never engaged, in person, Cromwell, Ireton, or Jones ; that in a very short time after the death of the late King, all Ireland, except the province of Connaught, was under the power of the rebels ; that Sir Charles Coote (afterwards Lord Montrath) and Lord Broghill (afterwards Earl of Orrery) with the forces under their commands, and the whole Protestant army of the North, went over to the rebels ; that when the royal cause had under his administration, become desperate and defencel ss, he abandoned it in its agony, and secured his own personal safety, a second time, by flight; that before his departure, he greatly strengthened the rebel power, by*“ permitting, as the Earl of Orrery expressed it, all those

worthy Protestants, who till then had served him, to come “ off to the rest of the Protestants, though then headed by Ireton “ himself, esteeming them safer by that real regicide,f so acput it to a forged commission, in order to persuade them that what he did was by royal authority. But that he never had any real commission from the King. The bishop of Kilmore assured Mr. Carte, that he was present at the execution, and heard this from the mouth of O'Nial.

Answe' to Walsh : where he also says, by way of appeal to Ormond himself, Certainly be esteemed those less ill, to whom he sent his friends, than those from whom he sent them."

† The conduct of the leading characters in Ireland, at this critical period of the Irish history, has been uniformly represented in false colours, by all our historians. Not only historical praises, but royal and even legislative rewards have been lavished upon the most forward in the service of the parliament. This Lord Broghill, who was afterwards created Earl of Orrery, acted for some time under the parliament, till shocked at the King's death, he quitted the service of his regicide masters, and retired to Marston, a country seat he had in Somersetshire. There be formed a design to apply to Charles II. for a commission to act in Ireland for the restoration of the crown, and the recovery of his own property. The account of this Lord Broghill's devoting himself to the service of Cromwell, taken from his Panegyrist rather than Biographer (Mem. of the Boyle family, 1737, p. 42.) is submitted to the reader, as a specimen of the affection and loyalty of the Irish Protestants of that day, to the cause of the unfortunate Charles I. "I have heard a certain

great man, who knew the world perfectly well, assert, that a secret was never

kept by three persons. His Lordship had entrusted his secret to more than three ; and the Committee of State, who spared for no money to get proper

intelligence, being soon made acquainted with his whole design, determined " to proceed against him with the utmost severity. Cromwell was at that time “ General of the Parliament forces, and a Member of the Committee. It is " allowed by his enemies, that this wonderful man knew every person of great “ abilities in the three kingdoms : he was consequently no stranger to Lord

Broghill's merit ; and reflecting that this young nobleman might be of great “ use to him in reducing Ireland, he earnestly entreated the Committee, that " he miglit have leave to talk with him, and endeavour to gain him, before do they proceeded to extremities.... Having with great difficulty obtained this “permission, he immediately dispatched a gentleman to the Lord Broghill,

“ companied, than with those pretended antiregicides, so princi“pled;" that he not only received the before mentioned price “ who let him know that the General, bis master, intended to wait upon bim, if be knew at what bour he would be at leisure. The Lord Brozbill was infinitely “ surprised at this message, having never had he least acquaintance, or ex"changed a single word with Cromwell. He therefore told the gentleman, " that be presumed be was mistaken ; and that he was not tbe person to whom the General bad sent him. The gentleman readily replied, that he was * sent to the Lord Brogbill ; and therefore if he was that Lord, thiet be was sent " to him. His Lordship finding there was no mistake in the delivery of the

message, confessed that he was the Lord Broghill : he desired the gentle. "man to present his humble duty to the General, and to let him know, that be would not give bim the trouble to come to him, but that he himself would " wait upon bis Excellency, if he knew at what bour it would be most proper

* for bim to do so ; and that in the mean time he would stay at bome, to " receive bis further commands. The gentleman replied, that he would

return directly, and acquaint bis General with what bis Lordship said. The “ Lord Brogbill, in the mean time, was under a good deal of concern, at “ what should be the meaning of this message. He never once suspected that “his design was discovered ; but while he was musing in his chamber upon “ what had passed, and expecting the return of the gentleman, he saw Crom"well himself, to his great surprise, enter the room. When some mutual "civilities had passed between them, and they were left alone, Cromwell told him “ in few words, that the Committee of State were apprized of his design of going

over, and applying to Charles Stuart for a commission to raise forces in Ire. land; and that they were determined to make an example of bim, if be " bimself had not diverted them from that resolution. The Lord Brogbil!

interrupted him here, and assured him, that the intelligence the Committee bad received was false : that he was neither in a capacity, nor bad any inclina. “ tion to raise disturbances in Ireland ; and concluded with entreating his “ Excellency, to have a kinder opinion of bim. Cromwell, instead of making

any reply, drew some papers out of his pocket, which were the copies of “ several letters the Lord Brogbill had sent to those persons in whom he

most confided, and put them into his hands. The Lord Brogbill, upon the

perusal of these papers, finding it was to nu purpose to dissemble any longer “ asked his Excellency's pardon for what he had said, returned him his “humble thanks for his protection against the Committee, and intreated his “ directions how he ought to behave in so delicate a conjuncture. Cromwell “ told him, that though till this time be bad been a stranger to bis person, be

was not so to his merit and character; that he had beard how gallantly his

Lordship had already bebaved in the Irish wars ; and therefore, since quas named Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and the reducing tbat kingitom was now be

bis province, be had obtained leave of the Commiitce to offer bis Lord. ship the command of a General Officer, if he would serve in that war ; that .be sbould have no oaths or engagements imposed upon him, nor be obliged to " draw bis sword against any but the Irish rebels. The Lord Brogbill was in, ' finitely surprised at so generous and unexpected an offer. He saw himself " at liberty by all the rules of honour, to serve against the Irish, whose rebel" lion and barbarities were equally detested by the royal party and the Parliament. He desired, however, the General to give him some time to con“sider of what had been proposed to him. Croinwell briskly told him, that " he must come to some resolution that very instant ; that be bimself was "returning to the Committee, wbo were still sitiing ; and if bis Lordship reject. ed their offer, bad determined to send him immediately to the Tower. The " Lord Brogbill finding that his liberty and life were in the utmost danger, and “ charmed with the frankness and generosity of Cromwell's behaviour, gave “him his word and honour, that he would faithfully serve against the Irisb “rebels. Upon whiclı Croinwell once more assured him, that the conditions

come

« PreviousContinue »